和製英語の罠 その1:コインパーキング

 Have you ever heard of “coin parking”?

I hadn’t, until I started learning Japanese.  I don’t remember ever using the phrase “coin parking”. Metered parking? Parking meter? Sure. I haven’t seen one in a while, but sure, I’ve said it. Coin parking?! コインパーキング!?Not so much.

searches related to "coin parking"
Methinks it might be a Japanese exclusive.

Searching the term on Google led to a bunch of English results about the Japanese parking system. The exceptions? Parking lots for places with coin in their name (like Copper Coin, a restaurant in Seattle) and queries for coin parking meters. Or random queries that had both “coin” and “parking” somewhere.

The Japanese language is full of these Japanese-English terms. They are called wasei Eigo (和製英語). Sometimes they are close to the original English meanings, but you cannot blindly throw them into a translation and consider the job done. Another example that comes to mind is コインランドリー. Coin laundry. Sure, you might understand what it means, but, assuming you’re from the US, you probably use the word “laundromat”.

Don’t fall into the trap of using wasei Eigo in your translations. It may look like English, but it is very much Japanese.

If you’re interested in reading more about wasei Eigo, check out this other blog.

P.S. My favorite wasei Eigo term is マジックテープ. “Magic tape”. Velcro.

P.P.S 英語を勉強している日本人の方へ
いろいろ調べたらこのサイトが使えると思ったので一応リンクを貼ります。参考になれば幸いです。偶然、そっちも「和製英語の罠」というタイトルみたいですが私と一切関係がありません。和製英語の罠から抜け出して正しい英語を使いましょう。

Leave a comment with your favorite wasei Eigo!

Author: Koyami

I'm Koyami. I am a freelance Japanese-English Translator and I enjoy learning new skills and reading in my spare time. Current pursuits include learning Mandarin Chinese, getting familiar with Blender, and collecting all of the 十二国記 books. Follow me on Twitter and Google+ for blog updates, my Japanese word of the day, and more!